I can understand some of the confusion here since certainly he entertains (some) conservative viewpoints. However, Bush is anything but a conservative as true conservatives would understand the concept.
Let’s look into some of these misconceptions so we can really filter out who or what we understand and where we stand in regard to our own political preferences.
Full Disclosure: While I’m certainly not one of the thumping conservatives you see out there protesting certain (and as far as I can see, incredibly exaggerated and misdirected) demons in society, anyone who knows me personally would know that I do tend to lean right of center on certain issues. I won’t go into detail on which issues exactly as it doesn’t pertain to this discussion. Suffice it to say, I’m not a Republican but an Independent.
Warning : TL;DR version…
Neo-cons and Conservatives are the same thing
Calling a Neo(new)conservative a Conservative is like calling a Christian a Neo-Jew. While somewhat correct, technically, considering both religions have common religious texts and share many prophets, there are significant enough differences to refer to them as two distinct religions.
Conservatism did give rise to neoconservatism, however the differences (where they truly matter) are enormous. In fact, many neo-con doctrines fly in the face of traditional, conservative, (redundant, I know) values.
Differences which we will examine later…
George W. Bush is a Conservative
First and foremost, this confusion stems from the neo-cons who, for completely superficial reasons, happen to call themselves conservatives. While it’s true that Bush does have certain conservative view points, Bush is about as conservative as far as Buddhists Monks and Christian Monks are both considered ascetics. Yeah, there are similarities, but those are only on the surface.
Ask as many conservatives as you run into, both within and without the Republican party to see if they think Bush is really acting like conservative or like a neo-con.
All Conservatives are Christians
There are Christian conservatives, Jewish Conservatives, and even Atheist conservatives. One is a religious affiliation (or lack thereof), but the other is a political and economical stance. Neither adherence needs dependence on the other.
Of course, I’ve been “accused” of being an atheist (as if being an atheist makes me some kind of social criminal) by certain people within the Buddhist community. But this is primarily due to individuals unwilling or unable to examine themselves to see the glaring hypocrisy I’ve tried so desperately to expose.
You know what… If not being a zombie (I.E. following the herd) makes me an atheist, then so be it. In fact, I’ll be honored, since many great philosophers, mathematicians, scientists and social critics are atheists. But, I digress…
Most neo-cons are Christians, however. This would explain the urge of certain Republicans to implant religion in schools. Look closer, and you will see a neo-con behind the conservative facade.
BTW… The myth that there’s a ban on school prayer is also false.
You’re free to pray anywhere in school at any time. Kids, before participating in sporting events do it every time. You’re just not forced into prayer. People who go out shouting how prayer should be instated in schools seem to leave out the fact, that it’s the Christian prayer they want to enforce. I.E. force the participation of non-Christians in Christian prayer.
“Land of the free” eh?
Conservatives hate Liberals
People who indicate otherwise are boorish, boobs who we find in many other groups as well. If a significant percentage of a selected population consists of morons, then it would be a fair hypothesis that some percentage will show up in the cross section of certain collectives.
The same is true of Liberals who hate Conservatives.
It is impossible to run a government for a population consisting of so many diverse groups in our society without representing each of those groups in government. Representation is the only way, following our system of government, to ensure impartiality and fair treatment for all parties involved.
Last I checked, this is the United States of America. I can understand the irony in the term as the similarities are uncanny to the “unity” seen within the United Kingdom, but we’re, allegedly, “The Greatest Country On Earth™” so being at each others’ throats would be rather stupid wouldn’t it?
This is not the Roman Empire. Conformity is not a prerequisite for citizenship, nor is lack of conformity cause for ostracism or worse. If you don’t like a particular group of people…. Tough! They have as much a right to be here as you do.
Conservatives deny Global Warming
There are liberals, libertarians, conservatives and members of any other group you can think of that belong this keg party of idiots.
And I call them idiots, because anyone with the I.Q. of a fruit fly would find it undeniably obvious that the planet is getting warmer and weather patterns more and more erratic. Denying climate change is a hallmark of stupidity, not conservatism.
These people would dig up a litany of supporting counter-evidence (with enough holes to resemble a sponge) to try and deny the simple, and glaringly obvious, fact the climate is indeed changing.
One only needs to glance at a temperature readout from any part of the world going back a few decades or more to see the dramatic increase in the last few decades.
Neo-Cons are following the tradition of Ronald Reagan
In a sequenece of events that would have him rolling in his grave, the neo-cons have used the image or Reagan to prop up their own status in (*gasp*) the same way Stalin used the image of Lenin to prop up his own status. The irony shouldn’t be lost on those of us who have observed the rise of neoconservatism from a seemingly inoccuous splinter group within the Republican party to a domineering influence attempting to tear apart the party (and the nation) from the inside.
It isn’t Conservatives vs Liberals. It’s Neo-cons vs Liberals.
Not only do the neo-cons do things that would have every true conservative and traditional Republican griding their teeth, they do it with a simile and a wink toward Reagan. As if no liberal would undrestand the deception even if some conservatives are willing to play along.
Bush Jr. has taken every opportunity to increase the power of the presidency with the pretext of protecting the nation against imminent destruction.
This nation has truly faced destruction only twice throughout its history.
Once during its young years of formation when even Washington himself claimed…
“Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.”
Naturally, Washington understood that fighting George the 3rd of England would be pointless if he himself would end up as George the 1st of America. Sadly, this subtle reasoning has been lost on our George the 2nd.
And again during the Cold War where Theodore Sorensen observed…
“When, in the late 1940’s, we faced a global Cold War against another system of ideological fanatics certain that their authoritarian values would eventually rule the world, we prevailed in time. We prevailed because we exercised patience as well as vigilance, self-restraint as well as self-defense, and reached out to moderates and modernists, to democrats and dissidents, within that closed system.”
Now if these observations were made during a time when this nation truly did face complete destruction and the crumbling of our political and social infrastructure, then the attack suffered on September 11th, 2001 is no cause to forget that we are still a Democracy. A flawed one, perhaps, but a Democracy nonetheless.
Destruction of our liberties under the guise is of patriotism is not a trait of conservatism. It is, to put it succinctly, treason.
So, there you have it. There are any number of people who would call themselves conservatives, for various reasons, but only a few would have that shoe fit. And swearing blind allegiance to any political doctrine, does not make one a patriot.